A Night Without End

The case of Dj Fabo: the man who went to Switzerland to die in peace.

by Edoardo Murari

“A night without end”. With this expression Fabiano Antoniani, also known as DJ Fabo for his job, used to call his physical condition. He became quadriplegic and blind in 2014, after a serious car accident caused by a distraction. He was trying to grab his smartphone that had fallen in the backseat. Those three seconds changed his life forever.

In his new condition, he was assisted with love by his parents and girlfriend, who never stopped standing by his side. However, at some point he took note that he didn’t want to live like that. He started to fight a battle for the legalization of assisted suicide by turning to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella in a video, in order to raise public consciousness on this ethical issue.

The case of Dj Fabo

At the beginning of 2017, the case of Dj Fabo was widely discussed by the media but, like so many times in the past, there was no response from the institutions. In February last year thus, Fabo decided to go to a clinic in Zurich where he finally accomplished his desire. He himself pressed a button to activate a medicine that first made him gently fall asleep, to then cause his cardiac arrest thirty minutes later. In his last travel, he was accompanied by Marco Cappato, a Radical Party representative, member of the Luca Coscioni Association which has been fighting for years to raise awareness on the recognition of this fundamental right.

After his return from Switzerland, Cappato denounced himself for the violation of Penal Code 580 condemning incitement to suicide. The Court of Milan acquitted him of the accusations and asked an opinion to the Constitutional Court, having considered the law too old and not sufficient to protect an individual’s self determination. The Constitutional Court found in Milan Court’s favor by recognizing the legislative void and giving the Parliament eleven months to solve the question. The following September, the Court would definitely deliberate.

In December 2017, the former government passed a law on living wills, allowing to decide before to stop vital therapies in case of non compos mentis. This law makes reference to Article 32 of the Constitution, which states that mandated treatments cannot be imposed.

The case of Dj Fabo is not the first one to enter the public debate and, every time it happens, the stances are really hard-line, especially in politics. During the discussions in the parliamentary committees, the Right and other parties have always been adamantly opposed, reflecting the Catholic Church’s positions about the assisted end of life.

An effort that must not be vain

In Italy indeed, the Catholic Church has always had an important influence in every field of life, from education to ethical issues, gaining great support from the political parties, including those of the Left. What is more controversial however, is that, any way you slice it, we are talking about an individual right, a personal choice.

We have to see in the future if there will be developments on this issue, as in such cases there is a tendency to create big mediatic noise, to then let it fade in a few days. Fabo said that he didn’t want to become a symbol of this battle, but he simply wanted to die in peace, with dignity, surrounded by his dears and not by journalists. We hope that his effort will not be vain.